Building a standing desk

Stand while you work. After months of experimenting at home, I recently built myself a “standing desk” for the office.

How to build a standing desk from Ikea

Building a desk that stands 40″ tall required a trip to IKEA for the following components:

I have a bar stool that I’ll sit on every hour or so to give my legs a rest.

Why are you doing this? – quote from my co-workers

While I plan on going into this in more detail in a future post, I have two reasons:

  1. I find I have way more energy and focus when I stand and use a computer.
  2. Sitting at a desk all day is proven to cause deep vein thrombosis, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, herniated disks, poor posture, knee pain, muscle weakness, depression, slow metabolism, neck problems, back ache, and death.

The point isn’t necessarily to stand in one place all day: the whole point is to NOT sit. At a standing desk you can choose your position: standing, leaning, sitting, standing with one foot up, etc…  When you sit, you’re limited to one posture; when you stand, you have more flexibility.

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  1. I love it! I do the same thing.

  2. We bought Ikea desks for the office that extend high enough to use standing up, but for whatever stupid reason, the bar stool never occured to me and it seemed a rather daunting all-or-nothing arrangement. My first order of business: get a barstool.

  3. Hi Justin,

    For scale, how tall are you?

    Have you raised the height of your displays since this picture was taken?

  4. Ha ha. Yes: the idea isn’t that you stand ALL DAY, but rather that you move around. Sit, put one leg up on a stool, step back, lean on one leg. It also makes it easier to walk away if you just need time away from your screen.

  5. Hi Jake. I’m 5’8″. I chose the height based on what Ikea was using for their standing desks (for the customer reps).

    I haven’t raised my displays yet, but I’m thinking about it. My external display seems to be a good height. My Macbook Pro is a little low.

  6. How is it holding up? Sturdy enough for prolonged daily use? Are the legs the only support you’re using? (no wall mounts?)


  7. It’s holding up great. Yes, sturdy enough for prolonged use – it will definitely shake if you shake it, but overall I’ve found it stable. Yes, the legs are the only support I’m using. If you want a more solid base, the IKEA FREDERIK works well.

  8. You can also get the half-round table extenders and the 4″ or 6″ set of risers to set the monitors up higher. Then it would look like half of the desks at our office. :)

  9. Sweet! Are those from IKEA?

  10. Hey Justin! Any resources for other DIY desks? I’m looking to possibly build a fairly simple one but rather than go at it from scratch, I thought I’d ask…

  11. Brock and Ashley here in the office have both built standing desks using the Frederik ($169) from IKEA.

  12. hi – i have a question about the ikea solution (which looks great). the ikea webpage for the vika byske table legs says:

    “Should only be combined with a wall-mounted table top, e.g VIKA BYSKE. Wall fitting included.”

    is your desk sturdy? i want a non-wall-mounted table, but am unsure whether the ikea folks are off-base about the warning.


  13. Hi Katie,

    Thanks for your question. If I try to move it, my desk does have a little wobble. However, I’ve been using it every day since building it, and sturdiness hasn’t been a problem. My desk is not fitted to the wall (it’s completely free standing). I just made you this video showing you the amount of wobble when I push on the desk.

  14. My standing desk is also an Ikea product.  I very nearly went with the Vika Byske chrome adjustable legs that you have, but then one of the store staff searched their system and found another option: – Utby bar table. The legs are connected together by bracing pieces so it is extremely sturdy.. It was also £5 less than  4 Byske legs. Price: £75 vs £20 ea for the Byske legs.

  15. Hey Justin, I put this standing desk together about 6 months ago. I have since added legs to the desk portion to eliminate some of the monitor bouncing I was getting while typing… apparently I’m an aggressive typist.

  16. Whoooaaaaah. Wall mounted! You must be a serious typer.

  17. Actually, it’s free standing.

  18. That’s really cool!
    With the bouncing was it the frame bouncing or the table top? Could attaching it to the wall have had the same effect as adding the legs?

  19.  Craig,
     Did you get all your parts at a hardware store? where did the silver shelf holding the computer monitors come from? How about the black desk?

  20. I was wondering about what is best angle to have the screen? straight ahead or looking down like on the picture?

  21. You are supposed to look straight ahead.  The picture shows a setup that is ergonomically poor.

  22. Yup; I’ve been working on the ergonomics issues. I’ve raised both my laptop and my monitor.

  23. Hi Sue,
    I like your tableIs it adjustable

  24. hm, how tall are you? I’m about 72,44? and 40? seems pretty small …

  25. i want to make this desk but i need your personal opinion, im going to
    be doing stop motion on it, are u really wanting it to move or is it
    really jiggly ? please reply? thanks my youtube is TheSoviish to reply 😀

  26. hey since u got that desk from ikea im just wobndering if i could have the link to where u bought it or u could mesure the height length and with thanks 😀

  27. No, it’s not adjustable.

  28. I replied on YouTube, but here’s my answer: it can be jiggly if you don’t have it anchored to the wall.

  29. I’m 5’8″.

  30. Nope. It’s been fine for me (I’m only sitting maybe 10%-25% of my day)

  31. Hi Justin. One question. Did you find it difficult at first when you switched from sitting to standing? Leg pain etc? Also, what is the number 1 benefit in your opinion,. Cheers, Jim

  32. Yup: you’ll have some leg pain at the beginning (but the bar stool really helps with this).

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